A large German randomised controlled trial involving 5, 237 participants has compared the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in allergic rhinitis patients to routine care alone. This is a significant trial because there were a large number of subjects studied in the trial which makes it more reliable. Randomised controlled trials are of a high quality of research.
Patients were randomly allocated to receive up to 15 acupuncture sessions over three months or to a control group receiving no acupuncture. Patents who did not consent to randomisation received acupuncture. all were allowed to receive usual medical care. This is realistic because this is what would happen in ‘real life’.
Patients were assessed using the Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) and general health-related quality of life were evaluated at the start and after 3 and 6 months. At 3 months, the RQLQ improved by a mean of 1.48 in the acupuncture group and by o.50 in the control group. Quality-of-life improvements were also more pronounced in the acupuncture vs control group. Six-month improvements in both acupuncture groups were lower than at three months.
The authors concluded that treating allergic rhinitis patients with acupuncture in addition to routine care leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits.